With big changes come a few growing pains, like those stemming from acute traffic changes at the regional hospital.
After set-up for large-scale renovations caused vehicle snarls early in the week at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH), things were rolling along much smoother on Thursday.
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Numerous flaggers are now on site and contractors are digging into the $19-million project that will bring a state-of-the art emergency department over the next two years.
Although a traffic plan is in place, Interior Health’s Jane Cusden, advises anyone who has an appointment, to allow at least 15 minutes extra time.
“All this will be worth it when we have a beautiful new emergency department,” she said.
Impacts to parking and hospital access during construction, which includes significant electrical upgrades, will continue into the foreseeable future, so Interior Health (IH) issued a public notice this week.
While changes will be an inconvenience for patients and visitors to the site, IH is asking anyone coming to the hospital to follow direction from the flaggers and signage, and as Cusden advised, allow additional time prior to a scheduled appointment or visit to the hospital.
The main entrance to KBRH remains open to pedestrians, not to vehicles.
A new patient drop-off area is being created east of the hospital (left at the top of Hospital Bench Road) to minimize the impact for individuals with mobility issues. A flagger was on location Thursday stopping traffic and assisting patients across the road.
IH has consulted with the City of Trail to allow for overflow parking on Hospital Bench Road. Watch for signs that mark areas where parking is permitted.
“This construction will result in significant improvements to emergency department care at KBRH and IH will do everything possible to minimize the impacts to patients and visitors during construction,” the release read. “We regret any inconvenience residents may experience.”
Renovation plans include a single-storey addition to the existing building that will significantly expand the size of the current department. More square-footage will address immediate space and service challenges, and accommodate projected patient care needs for years to come.
The redevelopment will feature updated and expanded trauma bays, exam rooms and procedure rooms, and will add an airborne isolation and secure room to the emergency department.
The project’s $19-million budget will be funded 40 per cent by taxpayers in the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital District and by a $1-million commitment by KBRH Health Foundation, with the Province of B.C. through Interior Health covering the balance.